Rating Miley

Miley Cyrus on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine

In September 2011 a paper was published by professors Mary Tell Trautner and Erin Hatton of University at Buffalo. The title, “Equal Opportunity Objectification? The Sexualization of Men and Women on the Cover of Rolling Stone,” explores with what frequency males and females are sexualized (or even hyper-sexualized) on the covers of the magazine.
The study explains the dataset as follows, “We thus analyzed a total of 1,006 cover images (726 images of men and 280 images of women) across 42 years of Rolling Stone magazine.”
The fact that the study was published in 2011 means there has been a grand injustice—this study missed the opportunity to analyze the October 2013 Miley Cyrus cover!
Looking at the 23 point system, which is divided into 11 different categories, here are the three possible levels an image may fall into: Non-sexualized, between 0-4 points; sexualized, between 5-9 points; hyper-sexualized at 10 points and beyond. I will use this system to rate the Miley Cyrus cover.
Clothing/Nudity (0–5 points)
Well, girlfriend is skinny dipping here so she gets the full five points for nudity.
Touch (0–3 points)
Where does Miley’s photo rank on the scale? This category includes being touched, whether by others or by oneself. In this case Miley is touching herself to hide her nudity landing her at a three. Note she is also touching herself with her tongue, a kinky move.
Pose (0–2 points)
I’m going to give her a one. The wet Miley leaning forward is sexually inviting however she doesn’t quite reach the level twos do. Twos tend to have their legs spread or are lying in a bed with a come-hither look on their faces.
Mouth (0–2 points)
Now here is where Ms. Cyrus is the champ—she scores a two. As of late she has been letting her tongue loll like a Siberian Husky in heat (there’s a double entendre for you). I’d give her 15 points if the system let me.
Breasts/Chest; Genitals; Buttocks (0–2 points per body part)
Cleavage! We got cleavage here! Another two.
Text (0–2 points)
This one’s a little tricky. How sexual is the text that correlates to the cover image? “Good Golly Ms. Miley” isn’t sexy enough to get a two, however as Britney Spears sang in her 2000 hit, “Oops!…I did it again,” it’s “not that innocent,” either. This gets a one.
Head vs. Body Shot (0–1 point)
This photo definitely lets us see more than her face—but even if it was just a headshot I still think I’d give it a one.
Sex Act (0–1 point)
No simulated sex act here. She gets off clean with a zero.
Sexual Role Play (0–1 point)
No Sweet Lolita dress, no dog collars or bondage—Miley gets another zero. It’s almost like Hannah Montana is coming back to us!
Drumroll please—the total score is…15! This puts Miley’s Rolling Stone cover photo well into the hyper-sexual category.
However she has not dethroned the reigning champ, Christina Aguilera and her 2002 cover shot in which she lies in bed naked with a guitar. That cover earned a whopping 20 points. A part of me believes if Cyrus had brought that foam finger from her VMA performance she could have usurped the seasoned pop queen.
Trautner and Hatton’s study concludes with how the Rolling Stone covers evolved over decades, “And what we found is striking: sexualized representations of both women and men increased, and hypersexualized images of women (but not men) skyrocketed.”
As we use the pre-fix hyper, I also must wonder, are we hyper-focused on females as opposed to males when it comes to sexuality period. As Cyrus says of her VMA performance in her Rolling Stone interview, “No one is talking about the man behind the ass. It was a lot of ‘Miley twerks on Robin Thicke,’ but never, ‘Robin Thicke grinds up on Miley.’ They’re only talking about the one that bent over. So obviously there’s a double standard.”

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